MIS Quarterly Executive


In June 2000, the two largest players in the education finance (student loan) industry announced their intent to merge: Sallie Mae of Reston, VA, would acquire USA Group of Indianapolis, IN. By the end of 2001, Sallie Mae had not only met its cost savings targets, but had also increased its share of the loan origination market from 15 percent before the merger to 24 percent. This level of growth shortly after a merger is a significant success story: many merged companies meet their cost-cutting goals, but lose sight of their revenue growth goals. One key to this post-merger success was Sallie Mae¡¯s ability to quickly integrate the two firms¡¯ loan processing and servicing operations. In fact, Sallie Mae followed an IT integration plan far more aggressive than recommended by industry consultants. This paper tells the Sallie Mae post-merger IT integration story, captures lessons learned along the way, and includes the views of more than a dozen Sallie Mae employees who were "close to the trenches."